This was an interesting and enlightening talk regarding the failings of the British media and ways to democratise their processes. Featured speakers were Tom Mills, Laura Basu, Leo Watkins, Dan Hind, Angela Phillips and Wendy Liu.
• The way in which we are managed online is shaped by the private sector. Encourages quick turnaround in news.
• Regulation of massive monopolies? EU trying this but break up would be more beneficial yet harder to enact.
• Public service search engine should be a radical possibility - one not based on data-mining & advertising.
• Good journalism declined before the advent of the internet due to its commercialisation but it compounded the problem.
• Daily Mail monetises grief.
• 'Journalism vouchers' - an investment in democratic media.
• The wealthiest people in our society are the most 'attractive' audience to private-business-interest media so it's not enough to just get rid f the millionaire owners of newspapers if such things are still privately run.
• Vouchers system actually more beneficial for journalists: they can write what the want without being beholden to tax-exile owners and the editors who serve them.
• BBC originally undemocratic, has always been close to the state and the ruling class.
• It became more close to markets in the 1980s onwards. BBC reported 2008 crash in a way which allowed the Conservatives to take political advantage.
• Remove all areas of government control on the BBC. Should have decentralisation and elections.
• Take away the top-down state-run structure of the BBC.
• Politics usually reports to a public sphere that it shapes and defines.
• Commercial platforms thrive on sensation and confrontation. Public platforms could change this.
• Freedom needed to spur a creative movement in media.
• Daily Mail muckraking so successful because it picks on people who don't have the financial means to defend themselves. Other sources do less real investigative journalism due to the possibility of financial intimidation.
• Alternative media e.g. New Internationalist in danger of failing as they have limited monetary interest without using advertising and with the death of print journalism (subscriptions).
This was a discussion in Liverpool as part of The World Transformed festival with Emma Dent Coed MP, Danielle Rowley MP, Jennifer Forbes, Ann Henderson, Leah Levane and Dr Faiza Shaheen. I have to say, this was a refreshing and constructive talk. I think Faiza Shaheen particularly stood out to me as clear, passionate and clued-up. I look forward to her unseating Iain Duncan Smith!
• Education is vital: not just degrees but opening up trades to women. Trade union education important too.
• Restrictions on social provisions makes involvement harder on single mothers, for example.
• Solidarity with women and socialists as a broader internationalism.
• 'Period poverty'.
• Labour movement tradition of 'female carer', holdover from miners' strike.
• Tory sexism in Parliament well documented.
• All-woman shortlist encourage women to get involved.
• Without changing the economy, women's position in society will not drastically change. Right now we have 'capitalist feminism'. More than 80% of austerity measures hits women - don't want to even out this misery but uproot the whole system. This is not just about the gender pay gap but deeper issues.
• Social infrastructure - the movement needs women to push this idea as male economics would tend to overlook this.
• Important that teachers and others are seeing young women succeed and encouraging them to progress.
• Image of trade unions as male-dominated not entirely accurate, little-known records of women organisers historically, even before women got the vote.
• ^ Women shaped the Labour Party too, do not receive enough credit for this.
• Struggle for abortion rights is an internationalist cause for working-class women.
• Parliament like a public boys' school but also 80% pantomime and gossipy/backstabbing culture.
• Humiliation or fear of it in Parliament means some people hold back. Men are overrepresented.
• Disestablishment of church and state will improve Parliamentary procedure. Also, ending archaic traditions such as filibustering. The culture needs to be detoxified.
Tackling Britain's New Far Right
This was an interesting lecture/discussion of which I only caught the end. It was part of The World Transformed, a political and cultural festival which runs parallel to the Labour Party conference. The panelists were Ash Sarkar, Alan Gibbons and Eleanor Penny.
• Territory vs. culture: the right wing is fitting the culture war, defence of 'our values' makes us look like the elites and then they look like the underdogs. Would it be more effective to squeeze out facets organising?
• Count-culture created in Liverpool through the campaign against The Sun
• Don't fuel the far-right's reliance on being the marginalised, special group which promises people dignity.
• 'Isolate, humiliate' the far-right.
• First people to go to when people are facing racism is that marginalised community itself: ask how we can support them.
• No such thing as the 'white working-class', only the working-class, this includes majority BAME population.
• Anti-fascist actives and groups need to be more inclusive - straight violent opposition not optimal.
• Violent, 'macho' anti-fascism renders the movement just a subculture - needs to be more than that. Similar issues with inaccessible 'academic' anti-fascism - should be creating a social reality: childcare, community support, etc.
• Government census and data collection a massive issue for aiding and abetting racial/religious persecution, see government data on refugees, Trump using Obama's huge data collection system.
• Connect with European and international anti-fascists to disrupt alt-right networks more cohesively.
Bit of a notetaker